Spied: 2014 Toyota RAV4

Beneath that hideous heavily-camouflaged visage is Toyota’s fourth-generation RAV4, snapped recently while testing ahead of its world debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.

Due for release in Australia in the first quarter of next year, the redesigned compact crossover range is likely to be offered with a front-wheel drive entry level model and, for the first time here, a diesel-engined variant. The former will be powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine and priced from circa-$25,000, giving Toyota a new starting price position in its battle with rivals such as the Hyundai ix35 and Kia Sportage.

Our Carparazzi spy photos show a sweeping roofline and fast windshield. Significantly, the mule in the photos lacks a tailgate-mounted spare, indicating Toyota might finally be set to ditch this lingering hallmark of the RAV4’s off-road origins.

Beneath its extensive cladding the new RAV4 wears more aggressive sheetmetal and is expected to be larger in all key dimensions except height, at about 4500mm long, 1815mm wide and 1660mm high. With a smaller grille, wider stance, raked windscreen and a more pronounced wedge shape, the new RAV will feature more of a family resemblance to the new Corolla/Auris hatch, which will make its world debut at the Paris Motor Show in September.

Despite riding on the same 2660mm wheelbase, the new RAV4 is expected to offer more rear legroom. A seven-seat version is unlikely for Australia, however. Changes to the RAV4’s powertrain promise to be just as significant as the sheet metal changes. The 2.0-litre 2WD entry-level model promises better fuel consumption than the model it replaces, while a new 135kW/235Nm 2.5-litre petrol engine will replace the current 2.4-litre unit. The latter’s outdated five-speed manual and four-speed auto will also be replaced by six-speed manual and auto transmissions. As we’ve reported, the new RAV4 will also be available in Australia with diesel power for the first time, but the slow-selling V6 will likely be consigned to history.

It’s unclear at this stage which of the current European-spec 2.0-litre and 2.2-litre turbodiesel engines will be sold here but there is speculation Toyota will follow the Mazda CX-5’s lead by making the diesel engine available only in high-spec, AWD, auto-only form.

Thanks to: Car Point


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